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Revista Brasileira de Medicina do Esporte

On-line version ISSN 1806-9940


AGRESTA, Marisa Cury; BRANDAO, Maria Regina Ferreira  and  BARROS NETO, Turíbio Leite de. Physical and emotional causes and consequences of career termination in sports. Rev Bras Med Esporte [online]. 2008, vol.14, n.6, pp. 504-508. ISSN 1806-9940.

INTRODUCTION: Elite athletes will have to face sport career termination sooner or later, and this is a crucial and inevitable process that brings about changes in the occupational, financial, social and psychological spheres of their lives, which can be followed by emotional distress. OBJECTIVE: The present study had the aim to research how former Brazilian basketball and professional soccer players have experienced retirement in sports career as well as its causes and consequences. MATERIAL AND METHODS: 79 former elite male athletes (soccer and basketball players) with mean age of 51.75 ± 8.85 years old were assessed. They have been professional athletes for 18.22 ± 4.66 years and had their career termination at about 34.36 ± 4.42 years. A semi-structured interview frame was used and the data were analyzed according to the answers frequency of occurrence for each interview item. RESULTS: It was observed that for 75.9% of these athletes the retirement from sport was their own choice. Age (49.4%) and appearance of other interests (43.0%) were the most frequent reasons related to the retirement. However, they have experienced feelings of sadness (50.6%) and resignation (36.7%) and 43% of the former athletes have experienced worsening in their physical condition after career termination. CONCLUSION: We can conclude that the hereby-assessed athletes have experienced a long sports career, but their retirement caused feelings of sadness. On the other hand, old age itself is a limitation for the practice of elite sports, and its acknowledgement has led to resignation.

Keywords : retirement; sports [psychology]; soccer; basketball.

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